What’s new in Magic the Gathering Arena April 2020? I remember when I first reviewed the game, I think I denigrated it as MtG: Hearthstone edition. The game introduced animations and emotes into the sometimes overly serious MtG game space. It took me a while to warm up to the game. I played here and there, but never on a consistent basis.
They have been good at updating the game on a regular basis. All new sets have been available on the first day for as long as I can remember. I know in the beginning, they were still giving priority to MTGO, but that changed pretty quickly when they realized the audience of MTGA. There are daily quests and a “Mastery” system that allows you to rank up to get rewards. Those two things are what keeps me coming back every day to play.
But, that’s not all. The most recent update brings with it the requisite set of Ikoria. That’s a month early due to the Covid-19 outbreak. The cards are also available on MTGO, but I never play that. It’s a real money system that doesn’t work for casual guys like me. MTGA is much more forgiving in that way. But, there’s more! Let’s explore all the new stuff.
Standard Only – Sure, there’s “Historic”, too, but honestly I’m not sure anyone even knows that exists or what’s legal in “Historic”. I kind of wish they would start pushing out older sets, maybe as draft sets initially, to allow for “Pioneer” to eventually be legal, but I’m sure that’s not a priority right now. I just take solace in the fact that I only have to worry about the most recent sets. Unless they’re running an event, I don’t have to worry about any Lotuses (Loti?) except for the slightly underpowered ones they release every now and then.
Daily Deals – Another relatively recent update is that they’ve been offering daily deals in the shop. I check every morning before playing to finish my quests. There are the aforementioned card styles, card sleeves, and sometimes even packs for a discounted price. They’re almost always available for gold, so you can build a collection pretty quickly.
Friday Night Magic at Home: I’ve mentioned Covid-19 in the last two articles because they’ve affected so much of life, MtG included. Obviously, the most recent set was delayed in paper. However, Channel Fireball was one of the first places I knew that shut down their warehouse due to the outbreak. And, finally, stores in the state have closed, so no Friday Night Magic. Now, I never took part in any FNM previously, but it was still good that WotC has allowed MtGA to host FNM events and you can even get prizes from your local store if they’re participating. Anything to retain that sense of normalcy in crazy times.
Mastery: I already said a bit about Mastery earlier. Here’s the rest. By completing quests and winning matches daily and weekly, you gain XP. That XP allows you to level up (1000 XP per level) which allows you to gain certain prizes. It could be packs. It could be cards. Every now and then, it is pets. I know, I know. That sounds dumb. And it is. But, it hasn’t stopped me from trying to collect more pets.
Early Access to Ikoria: This isn’t technically early access. As discussed, this is when Ikoria should have released to begin with. However, due to the current global pandemic, I’ve gotten to play with the new set and Chris hasn’t. I won’t make any sort of boasting comment about that because it’s potentially bad karma and I have enough of that to clean up after the last few years of my life.
Player Drafts: This is probably what I’m most excited about in the new update. Previously, you would draft with bots, which wasn’t nearly as interesting as drafting with players. Sure, I could have played MTGO or gone to FNM. However, I’m a noob (as I already explained) and MTGO isn’t cost efficient for me. And, up until this year, I haven’t had the time to go to FNM. Now, I have all the time in the world.
Magic the Gathering Arena April 2020 is in a good spot right now. Initially, I thought this might be like many of WotC’s recent ventures into digital and founder under lack of support. However, the game quickly gathered a following due to them actually supporting it. They’ve used it in streams for tournaments and even have sponsored streamers who play it. If viewing numbers are any indication, it’s still not as popular as Hearthstone. However, it is popular enough that I rarely ever have difficulty finding an opponent. That’s a good thing because I find myself playing this much more than Hearthstone lately. Come join me!